New role for Oeivind Eriksen

Oeivind Eriksen, the recently elected President of the Swaythling Club International (Photo: Leon Libin)

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A familiar face on the international scene but now for Oeivind Eriksen at the 2018 World Veteran Championships in Las Vegas, there is a different role; he is the newly elected President of the Swaythling Club International (SCI), the organisation under who auspices the tournament is organised.
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Swaythling Club International staged on the occasion of the recent Liebherr 2018 World Championships, he succeeded Ebby Schöler who stepped down to become Deputy President.

Resident in Hamar Norway, 61 years old, an auditor by profession, Oeivind Eriksen has been involved in table tennis since he was 15 years old, first as player then as a coach but, of course he cannot match the achievements of his immediate predecessor, Ebby Schöler was the Men’s Singles runner up at the 1969 World Championships nor that Diane Schöler whom her husband followed.

Famously in both 1951and 1954 with sister Rosalind under her maiden name, Rowe, was crowned Women’s Doubles World champion.

“I am very happy to be the new SCI President. I do follow famous table tennis persons in this important function. I am also satisfied that Ebby Schöler will continue as Deputy President. I need to get a total overview of the duties in SCI and to learn from Ebby this coming year.” Oeivind Eriksen

Notably Oeivind Eriksen was President of the Norwegian Table Tennis Association from 1995 to 2015, later President in North European Table Tennis Union from1998 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2016.
He became Chair of the International Para Table Tennis Committee from 1999 to 2000 and Chair of the ITTF Para Division from 2006-2013.

Now a new challenge and clearly Oeivind Eriksen is delighted with how the tournament has grown; memories are still strong of over two decades ago when Norway played host.

“The first World Veteran Championships was organised in Gothenburg with approximately 400 players. The World Veteran Championships has developed to be a great success, with more than 4,000 players from a record number of 97 countries this time. It is complicated to organise, it is really a challenging job to be an organiser. I still remember 1996, when Norway organized the event in Lillehammer with 1,950 players and I was very involved in the organizing committee.” Oeivind Eriksen

Over the years the tournament has grown but the immense feeling of camaraderie is as strong as ever.

“I can feel a perfect atmosphere here; the players enjoy the Championships, they meet friends, travel together, play the Championships, win and lose, enjoy life and table tennis. Many players have competed in the World Veteran Championships many times and also in other veteran Championships. The World Veteran Championships is really showing us what table tennis is all about; one sport – one family.” Oeivind Eriksen

Delighted with the progress that has been made; now Oeivind Eriksen is looking ahead.

“First of all I need to get a total overview of SCI, of all the SCI duties in 2018. Then I would like, together with the SCI committee, discuss and find out our plans for the future. The World Veteran Championships and veterans will always be important for SCI, but it will also be important for SCI to get many more members, to get involved with members at international and national level, to get more involved in youth, as well as seniors and Para table tennis. “Fair play awards” and “best player awards” will be important to develop. Table tennis family is big, with a record number of 226 member associations; this means lots of possibilities for SCI.” Oeivind Eriksen

Currently, Oeivind Eriksen is Chair of the European Union Technical Committee, a position he has held since 2002 and one which reflects his wide background in the sport of table tennis, important for his new function, President of the Swaythling Club International.